Tag Archives: Debian

HP Pavilion 17-f052ng with Debian Linux 2014 not a good idea

I have thought that buying an old machine is not necessary nowadays, because the driver support ist getting better in Linux every month. But this machine really sucks. First off I would have really preferred a machine with only Intel hardware, because I found that Intel today really does a good support job and I did not have much trouble with it.

ATI and Nvidia on the other hand are not really that open source friendly. So thats my problems in August 2014:

  • The ATI Radeon chipset 6900 does not really work with Xorgs Radeon driver. I then used the VESA driver in xorg.conf and this seems to work ok. Even HD videos can be streamed. I don’t know the state of that VESA drivers, but I always thought they were more limited. SO graphics is workable, but sure one should not use VESA generic driver.
  • If I shut down the lid and the Notebook goes into hibernate mode I can not wake it up.
  • The sound driver seems to work now. I have a MATE desktop and I could see some device but could not  set the volume. The solution was I guess to install the package mate-media-pulse. After that there was a conflict with the volume meter that I added to the panel by hand but  a new one appeared automatically – and it worked. So that was not a hardware issue but rather installing the mate-desktop does not give you all you might need for a desktop.
  • Wireless also did not work. I have  solution but its really not fixed. It is the RTL8723BE . I found this Debian Forum entry. There is a Git repository. If you download you can not compile because on line 621 there is an error and I wonder why its not fixed in the repo:

You need to change :

if ((_ieee80211_is_robust_mgmt_frame(hdr)) &&

to

if ((ieee80211_is_robust_mgmt_frame(hdr)) &&

See also this #5

 

So thats it for now. I might write a new article if important fixes are available. I am basing this on “Debian Jessie”.

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OpenBSD as guest in Virtualbox

Does this work? Yes it does currently. With OpenBSD 5.0, 5.1 an VirtualBox 3.2.

Without hardware virtualization on my CPU I had to start VirtualBox differently than normally, though:

VBoxSDL –norawr0  –startvm NAMEOFMACHINE &

Then it should run ok. I run this setting on a Debian 6.x Squeeze since some years. So it does not need VT-x or AMD-V hardware virtualization support, as Oracle says.

–norwar0” means  “disable raw ring 3″. I still dont really understand this completely. But Wikipedia also talks about the rings.

 

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Screen blanks on Linux

I had the problem that suddenly my screen went black after a period of time. It must have been ten minutes. The problem was, that I could not disable the behaviour by the means of the GNOME tools (screensaver or energy preferences). Stupid Linux.

And if you find this, you probably have, because I left this hint for you. ;-)

If you have the same problem try this. First see if you got the same:

xset q |grep blanking

See of it looks like this:

  timeout:  600    cycle:  600

If so the number in the left says something about the timeout of the screen in seconds. 600 seconds are ten minutes.

For the current session you can just type

xset s 0

If you just type in “xset” it will list some screensaver related commands t the bottom of the output.

The “xset s 0″ disables the timeout counter and so effectively prevents the blanking of the screen.

I have no idea why there seems to be now no interaction between the GNOME tools and X11? I had this problem for months. I had played with “xset -dpms” bit this did not help at all.

Many of us do not have a xorg.conf any more, because we learned that autoconfig mostly works. But now this does not? Well I have added a xorg.conf withonly  this content to the coniguration directory /etc/X11/:

Section "ServerFlags"
 Option "IgnoreABI" "True"
 Option "BlankTime" "0"
 Option "StandbyTime" "0"
 Option "SuspendTime" "0"
 Option "OffTime" "0"
EndSection

This should be it!

Honestly this kind of shit fuels my doubts about some free software developments.  Personally I can wait for some months to solve a problem. Now I usually don’t do reinstallations of Linux to fix things, unless I have a very serious issue. And I recommend to act similar. I think for most desktop machines updating seldom and be patient in fixing is the best way to keep a stable system. Sure not updating can lead to some security issues. But in my  whole computer life I have not a single serious security issue. On the other hand I had thousands of problems with updates of software. So for most users the thing that really will cost you a lot of time is updating if you dont really need it.

I think the whole Microsoft/Windows shit has led people to believe that updating to the latest version is the best way to keep your operating system safe and stable. That might be very true for Windows. And it might also be a very good idea for internet servers. But on a generic notebook I would rather recommend to only install the software you need and stick with it as long as you can. What security risks do you fear? Somebody shutting down your system? Or somebody steeling your data? I guess your risk as a Facebook users is much higher that people steal your data that you just submitted.

Sure there might be people who need a lot more security. If you have important company data on your notebook and sit in an airport lounge connecting to  a wireless LAN you better have your disk encrypted as well as your connection. And there is a slight chance that somebody can break your system because you are using your Openoffice.org has a security leak. But still my guess that chances of this statistically are very low.

Personally I would tend to use  OpenBSD for a notebook, which is more safe by default, especially for people who don’t want to invest much time in keeping a system safe. And I guess it’s a very good idea not to connect to a WLAN at all if you are really worried about security. But nowadays people want to have it all and at the same time they want zero risk. My guess, but I am not a security expert, is that this is impossible. It’s like you buy expensive outfit to protect yourself from being robbed – but then entering the darkest parts of a city often. You will be robbed, even if you feel well prepared. The best way for not being robbed is to avoid some areas .

Ok don’t take that too seriously. There is never a 100% security. My point was, that it’s also a question of how probable a risk is and what could happen as the worst case. Many people don’t have important data, but more people need to have a computer which works when they need it. Strangely many friends I know tend to risk the functionality of their computers while they worry a lot that the might be at risk. So that’s why I get called for help each and every time and need to fix what some updates have corrupted.

 

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Switching from Ubuntu to Debian again

I  had been a long time Debian user years ago. But I have switched to different Linuxes. I have used Ubuntu for the last years, but had a problem with it for quite some time. Where I have already talked about earlier.

I have now decided, that it is much easier to just not use it any more, instead of living with their craziness of manipulating all kind of behavior in a non standard way. Its worse enough that GNOME does not goes in the wrong direction. But GNOME still is workable. At least in Debian.

I am now using Debian Testing/Squeeze. I like to see that Debians community is alive and developing.

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Ubuntu: Is it worth it?

I have been enjoying using Ubuntu. But there is one issue that make me start to think about switching distribution, again. The one issue is Mark Shuttleworth. But the individual, but his role in the distribution.

First of all I do not believe in the concept of benevolent dictatorship. I rather believe in the wisdom of crowds. So I do not trust the decisions of a single person, whoever it is. Does not matter who!

The second step is to look at some decisions Mark had made. In tle last 2 years I especially have a problem of two core decisions, which are:

  • Deciding to remove the shutdown option from system menu
  • Deciding to move the window buttons from right to left.

My main reasoning for disliking the decisions is that I had big, big problems adopting the changes. But I dont want to reduce decisions oin if I can get along. But if you think twice it is easy to realise that people with disablities, children or old people with have much more problems adopting the changes. I have enabled the FUSA on some other desktops and it sill feels totally unnatural to me.

Also my view is, that a distribution in fact should not fiddle around with the software as much as Ubuntu does. The right way would be to talk to GNOME and to reach a consensus . From a service perspective it is just hell if you assume you are providing services to different Linux distributions and you cant assume a specific layout, which is known to be a GNOME standard.

Maybe Mark decided this way so that Ubuntu is so different to other distributions and then people who learn Ubuntu will stick to it? I dont know – because obviously he and the gus from Ubuntu made a very bad decision from a usability perspective (TWICE!).

I am not  always conservative. I have played around different window managers – and I think GNOME has missed the opportunity to adopt tiled window managing before Windows did. And now Windows advertises with tiled window managing, while Linux had this for ages – but  GNOME can not claim to have supported it. It had the taste of being too geeky (while in fact its a very practical feature).

So I like to update my desktop. But what I do not like is that I incorporate drastic UI changes which are not really thought through. and forcing to manually fix. I install a great deal of Linuxes for other people – and what I hate is that I have to fix all kinds of stuff before I can let people work with the machine. I like to keep things as default – because this enables people to feel home on many machines. Right now its so that somebody who gets a default Ubuntu will never feel home on a default Fedora, although both use the same GNOME and would have the perfect chance to show that different distributions dont mean you have to adopt and learn before you start working with another distribution. And it is not Fedoras fault this time!

So my criticism to Ubuntu is exactly two very consious decisions they made – without any need. So its not just some kind of bugs. They want it that way – they want people to get upset and have second thoughts about using Ubuntu. Why? I do not know.

I am think between switching to Fedora or Debian right now. Debian has the advantage of being more democratic and me being mor efamiliar with apt-get. Fedora is more interesting technically. But as I am getting older I also do get more conservative. I have used both for some years. I did like the responsiveness of the Debian maintainers, whoch is much higher than on Ubuntu. On Ubuntu you are mostly being seen as just a stupid user.

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Fedora has been making a Licensing switch

After I got a note on my blog in a comment, that Fedora actually has left the OPL and changed the CLA. I have looked into the topic again, after I left Fedora 2006 because they chose OPL (as one reason) and after I repeated my critique in April 2009 in “Fedora: Open up your documentation!

Four years into the future and things seem to have changed. This sentence says it all:

To be honest, this change is probably a bit overdue. Most of the time, though, you can’t push the river, it has to flow as fast as it can in the direction it wants.

Also the change of the ICLA t a newly FPCA (Fedora Project Contributor Agreement). Another quote from the change FAQ:

Q. Why change the Fedora ICLA?
A. The current Fedora ICLA wasn’t really well structured for the needs of Fedora. It was composed of a lot of legal boilerplate, and was written before Fedora had really taken shape. In fact, the only reason that we’ve been able to leverage it for as long as we have is because of some creative interpretation on the part of Fedora Legal. Also, there were many people who could not agree to the Fedora ICLA for a variety of reasons, and we hope that the FPCA will resolve most (if not all) of those concerns.

That is true.

Ok, after all this years Fedora did what I requested. I publicly acknowledge that. So currently i do not have any legal doubts when it comes to Fedora contribution.

Would Fedora now be a viable choice for me? Well most major distributions suffer from a strange illness which is tat they constantly move forward into new technological grounds, same is true for desktops like KDE and GNOME. But Fedora especially did meet those demands.  I think that partly this is because Fedora was invented as a testbed for future Red Hat versions. Another motivation sure is that new stuff excites contributors more than old stuff.

But right now I am frustrated and sticking with Ubuntu. I hate what they do with the GUI (FUSA, button switches) every now and then. Especially as somebody who people ask what distributions the should use. Ubuntu is a compromise. Part of why I recommend it is because its popular – and that makes argumentation easier. It’s not all Ubuntus fault. GNOME does a lot of changes but some change just are not going to happen. But KDE is still worse in many aspects.

Fedora is not that much different and better than Ubuntu. And it actually does not have any larger user base in Germany. I would estimate the relation of Ubuntu:Fedora here to 1:12 or so.  Fedora here totally has lost the popularity contest. It also stated it never wanted to win this as far as I remember. I have not used it for a while. So I can not judge on how stable or well crafted it is right now. At the pint where I left Fedora it had been technically ahead of all other Distros.

What I see is that it seems the users have got more grip on the directions of Fedora and that’s a healthy development.

What is the future of Linux and Linux distributions? I do not see much innovation that excites me. Most of the interesting stuff is happening inside he applications. And it seems the more they are independent from a major desktop the larger the user base is. Thats not the whole point of development for sure. I can also understand the OpenBSD approach and like it very much. But OpenBSD in effect does what its users want – or many of its users are also core developers or at least have the same interests.

In Linux distributions it seems there are two kinds of distributions:

  1. Those who are supported by larger companies and that exist as a door opener for services and other products (Ubuntu, Fedora,…)
  2. Distributions who are driven by the community and the excitement about software  (Debian, Arch Linux)

Although Ubuntu has claimed as being a Linux for “human beings” it has not proven to be easy to install and use. Especially those major changes in GUI design that Mark seems to have forced personally (?) have been fatal. And I would switch tomorrow. The obvious commercialisation an weaknesses on free software usage has also been mentioned by many users as being a reason to consider switching or for having switched already. Many have already switched. Many have switched to Grandma Debian. And for good reasons. But Debian has been very slow and unpredictable in its development phases in the past.

On April 29th a new Long Term Support Ubuntu has been released. I have not been too excited about it for the above reasons. Ubuntu is destroying most of its reputation and popularity right now. It still has a lot of momentum, but that is only because all other distros still do worse.

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Compiling Aegisub on Ubuntu 9.10

So thats a mess, ok. I found out that the stable versions require more modern FFMPEG as Ubuntu 9.10 provides. The solution is to use an older package then.

you need to download a version not younger than aegisub-2.1.6-dev-r2740.tar.gz (Revision 2740) from February 18th 2009 from http://www.mahou.org/~verm/aegisub/archives/ and can confirm that this can include newest FFMPEG. For those who still dont know: There is no ffmpeg-dev, but you have to install different libraries -dev packages(most start with libav, I think essential should be: libavformat-dev and libavcode-dev) and also libhunspell-dev (HUNSPELL) for spell checking.

So my recommendation for Ubuntu to date is NOT to use the SVN version. I dont know why the require such new version of FFMPEG. It makes building unnecessary hard in my opinion.

I also installed these packages: ruby1.8-dev (otherwise you get “auto4_ruby.h:48:18: error: ruby.h: No such file or directory“), libperl-dev,…

Then you can enter directory and type

./configure
./make

And if that works ok:

sudo make install

That worked for me. If I missed soemthing ot you have questions pleas comment. And sorry I am not up to package building, yet. If a newer version works I will update this page, also.

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